Coping with Grief in Sobriety with Mother Nature's Help

August 21, 2023 Kelsi Cronkright

I'm coping with grief in sobriety. Years before I got sober, I sat in church basements and listened to folks talk about the pink cloud. They claimed that by removing alcohol and other substances from their lives, they suddenly viewed the world through rose-colored glasses. The pink cloud of sobriety is supposed to feel euphoric and sparkly. But for me, the opposite was true. If anything, sobriety has been a grief journey accompanied by a rollercoaster of intense emotions.

Why I'm Coping with Grief in Sobriety

When I first entered sobriety, my life was a dumpster fire. Addiction made me resemble a wounded animal, afraid and lashing out. Even though supportive people surrounded me, I still burned all my bridges. I still lost everything, including my friends and family, my job, my driver's license, my plans for the future, and my sense of self-worth. I lost the life I thought I was supposed to have. 

The grief I felt during those first few months of sobriety was all-encompassing. Instead of experiencing the pink cloud, a thunderous storm cloud hovered over my head. The shame I felt for the pain I caused while engaged in active addiction made me nauseous. Somehow, to remain sober, I had to look my grief square in the eyes and figure out how to create a life worth living. 

My Grief in Sobriety Partner: Mother Nature 

One thing that has helped me move through the dark clouds of grief in sobriety has been taking long walks and bike rides with my dog, Teddy. Ted and I go outside for at least an hour or two each day to be with my grief. Mother Nature and gentle movement give me space to briefly touch and metabolize my grief without allowing it to swallow me whole. 

The great outdoors connects me with something spiritual, something much bigger than myself. The change of seasons reminds me that everything is temporary, even waves of grief in sobriety. The sunrise and the sunset show me that beauty and pain can coexist. Moonlit walks center me in my cyclical nature. Bodies of water encourage me to go with the flow. Spending time outside has slowly helped me extinguish the dumpster fire. 

In my perfect world, everyone attempting sobriety would learn about the complexities of grief. Expecting a pink cloud, in my experience, was a setup for failure. Simultaneously grieving my old life, paving a new life path with a criminal record, and processing decades of trauma is hard work. But luckily, Mother Nature provided a safe landing place for me and my insurmountable grief. Luckily, Mother Nature will always have my back as I navigate the poignant paradoxes of grief in sobriety. 

APA Reference
Cronkright, K. (2023, August 21). Coping with Grief in Sobriety with Mother Nature's Help, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Kelsi Cronkright

You can find Kelsi on Instagram and Substack.

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